Color Spotlight: Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15:6)

Is Phthalo Blue Red Shade actually red-toned, neutral, or still green-toned but simply less so than its cousin Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)? I’ve heard all opinions, and I suppose it’s a judgment call. (Is the color blue you see the same as the color blue I see?) My opinion is that it is a … Read more

What’s the difference between Nickel Azo Yellow (PY150) and Rich Green Gold (PY129)?

Top: Mission Gold – Green Gold (PY150), a Nickel Azo Yellow.
Bottom: Daniel Smith – Rich Green Gold (PY129).

Both of these golds are highly transparent and dispersive, and both are made from nickel. Nickel Azo Yellow is more of a yellow – warm and ochreish in masstone and cool and lemony in dilute – while Rich Green Gold is more, well, green! It looks to me like pickles. Both make more muted, naturalistic greens with Phthalo Green than a bright yellow would.

For my money, they have roughly the same role, so which of these should I pick for my palette?

Read more

Color Spotlight: Cerulean Blue Genuine (PB36)

Da Vinci - Cerulean Blue Genuine
Da Vinci – Cerulean Blue Genuine

The color Cerulean, a light sky blue, is traditionally made from the PB35 or PB36 pigments. It’s a semi-opaque, granulating, green-toned blue with limited range of values, erring on the side of being light-colored. It’s nonstaining and highly liftable, making it a good choice for skies (if you like granulating skies). Personally, I usually like a less textured sky – but Cerulean has other uses as well, such as being a beautiful textured green mixer, and muting earth tones into cool, granulating browns.

Warning: Be careful to look at pigment numbers. Some brands, like Mission Gold, call their PB15 Phthalo Blue “Cerulean.” Don’t make the mistake I did when I first started painting, and get “Cerulean Hue” (from Da Vinci or any other brand), made from Phthalo Blue + white. PB15 is not the same color, and will not have the same granulation/magic/mixing properties.

Read more

Preparing Colors for the Desert

My partner’s sibling is getting married near Las Vegas in a few weeks, and even though it will be a short trip and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to paint, I’m excited to prep a new palette for a new biome (I’ve never been to the desert!) and to bust out some not-usually-used colors. 

Read more

Artist Palette Profiles: Nikki Frumkin

My much less skilled imitation of Nikki Frumkin’s Eldorado Peak at Sunrise. HO Quin Magenta (PR122), LS Sunflower (PY74), HO Ultramarine Deep (PB29), DV Diox Violet (PV23), WN WInsor Blue (PB15:3), HO Iso Yellow Deep (PY110) on Arches Hot Press.

Nikki Frumkin, aka Drawn to High Places, paints dreamy, colorful mountainscapes that blend precise line art with bold, wet-on-wet color blends. I love this art (I have several prints!) and one the cool things about it is that Nikki doesn’t really seem to use all that many different colors! A bold, limited palette can seem endless in the right hands.

Read more

Color Spotlight: Shadow Violet

Daniel Smith – Shadow Violet

Shadow Violet is a granulating purple-gray that’s made from a mix of three pigments: PB29 (Ultramarine), PG18 (Viridian), and PO73 (Pyrrol Orange). As such, close inspection of the seemingly unassuming shade reveals flecks of violet blue and blue-green as well as and underlying orange cast that make it more interesting than your typical gray, and mimics the overall effect of a real-life shadow with light and dark spots, color variety, and texture. John Muir Laws praises its beautiful granulation and suggests using it as a convenience gray for shadows in nature paintings.

Read more

Da Vinci PV19 Comparison: Is Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone Reduplicative With Red Rose Deep?

DV Red Rose Deep (PV19), top, vs DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19), bottom

I chose my watercolors by slot: my favorite green-blue, my favorite black, my favorite yellow ochre… Of course, slot boundaries and malleable. Over time, I broke out reds into several categories: bright magenta/rose, bright orange-red, deep crimson, and deep scarlet. My bright orange-red (which varies between Quin Coral or Scarlet Lake) is pretty different from my deep scarlet (Deep Scarlet), so no problem there. However, when it comes to my “cool reds,” I think my bright and my dark are too similar!

My quin rose choice is Da Vinci’s Red Rose Deep, and my crimson choice is Da Vinci’s Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone. They both use the same pigment, PV19, and now that I look at them together, I’m wondering if they’re basically… essentially… the same color?

This is the problem with choosing colors one-by-one like this: as your slots become increasingly fine, you may end up with some pretty similar colors. In fact, you’re likely to, since the common denominator is you, with your same aesthetic preferences. In my case, apparently, I tend to go for lively, cheerful, deep pinks! RRD is one of the more “crimson-like” roses, and ACQ is one of the more “rose-like” crimsons.

So, are these colors reduplicative? Do I only need one, and if so, which one? Or do they actually serve different palette roles?

Read more

A Range of Oranges

Swatching out all the greens I can make was useful to me in determining which mixes were promising and which ones I wanted to explore further, so I did the same with oranges! I did these tiny, so they fit on one page.

Mixed orange color chart

Reds and red-oranges are the rows, and yellows are the columns. My thoughts below…

Read more